The Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, today kicked off a new academic partnership between Scotland and Texas. Building on links already established by Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, colleges across the pond will work together to exchange skills and best practice for the benefit of their students.
During the visit to the college, Mr Mundell will see innovative courses in motion capture and 3D printing, which could potentially be transported to Scotland. Colleges Scotland, on the back of this, will invite the Chancellor of Dallas Community College District (DCCD) to visit Scotland to better understand how they work with students and employers to build a skilled workforce for the future.
The Secretary of State will also take part in a video link-up with Robert Gordon University and Richland College faculty members. Their existing partnership means that students in Dallas who complete an associate degree can go to the North East of Scotland to achieve a bachelors degree.
Mr Mundell said:
Good further education provision can set a student off on a career that will last a lifetime, and gives businesses the skilled young people they need to grow. The partnerships we are establishing today will be of benefit to students in both Scotland and Dallas.
There is much we can learn from the innovative courses I have seen today. They show us that in an area which has been reliant on oil and gas in the past, such as Dallas, diversification of skills is key.
Shona Struthers, Chief Executive Colleges Scotland, said:
Colleges across Scotland are developing sustainable relationships with local employers, and remain committed to further developing their portfolio of international activities with other colleges across the globe. This is a fantastic opportunity to develop a reciprocal relationship with Dallas Community College District, which will enable both parties to establish new opportunities to work together on a range of topics and courses that will bring real benefits to our students and the wider economy.
Professor Rita Marcella, Dean of Aberdeen Business School, said:
We are delighted to have this opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of a creative and open approach to partnership between educational institutions in Scotland and North America. Staff of Aberdeen Business School have worked with colleagues at Richland College to put in place routes through which Richland students can come to join courses in Aberdeen, with the potential to secure their Bachelor degree in just one year full time study. This enables routes to study abroad and true intercultural communication for both Scottish and US students.
Mr Mundells visit to Dallas and Houston is promoting the skills, expertise and innovation of North Sea oil and gas to investors and stakeholders in the US oil and gas capital of Texas.
Building on the visit last month to Texas by Andy Samuels, Chief Executive of the newly established Oil and Gas Authority, the Secretary of State will say that the UK Government is determined to do everything it can to help build a bridge to the future for UK oil and gas.
Meeting businesses and educators he will seek to strengthen the links between Texas and Scotland - forging new relationships that will benefit both countries at a difficult time in the oil and gas industrys history.